Filipinos are very resilient but also have to be adaptive and that doesn't mean that we have to not "see" each other.
Annie Neopmuceno is a vocalist, musical arranger, music teacher and concert producer and has been actively performing in Los Angeles for over a decade and he has supported Filipino American artists by producing numerous concerts in Los Angeles. She's also an active member in the community as the president of the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce for Los Angeles. She's also a cancer survivor and shares with Giselle Tongi-Walters on behalf of the Pacific Asian Counseling Services on how she's keeping safe during this time in this pandemic.
“I think for some cancer patients, they feel like it depends on what stage they're in...the surreal part is that I don't realize that I'm sick, but then my movements were controlled. I cannot do a lot of stuff while I was under treatment, but I was still working. And there are a lot of other patients who continue to work even while they are under treatment. And so you see, that's the normalcy. It's like when you're handling treatment, you try to be normal. However, in the pandemic, it's like, ‘OK, now I'm done with treatment,’ says Neopmuceno. “However, I still have a high risk. And it's not only the cancer, I'm also diabetic and I also have hypertension. So sometimes it's not just the cancer, but for me, it's like if I have to stay home, what's the big deal if I can limit my movements physically?”
So how can you be together when you can't be together?
Neopmuceno says technology like Zoom, Facetime and other messaging apps can help bridge that gap.
"Just last June my husband and I called people from all around the world to do a Zoom meeting. And then I was looking at the Zoom meeting with people from the Philippines, people from Australia and all over the United States. It's not even just in California. And I'm looking at the screen going like...this will never happen physically. This is physically impossible. And yet everyone is here and, you know, just the combination of people without having to drive," she says. "You have a different group of people. We learn so much more about each other. And those other people were able to feel connected to these other people who they otherwise would not have been in the same room with."
Neopmuceno emphasizes the importance of taking the pandemic seriously.
“In the beginning, it's like when you know nothing about it, like how you're going to catch it and how bad you're going to get it. I lost some friends in this pandemic and it's so shocking and it's enough to shock you into your place that if they say stay home, why are you taking it as an offense? It's for your own protection. Other people live every day with much dire circumstances than this one. If all you need to do is be safe, wash your hands, stay at home and limit physical contact, of course I'm going to do that more so that I am at risk,” she says.
During this time in this pandemic, as the holidays approach, remain safe and vigilant and socially distant, especially with the rising numbers of COVID19.
If you have any questions, you can reach out to Pacific Asian Counseling Services. They are taking e-mails and phone calls. If you have any questions about covid regarding testing symptoms tomorrow and you can ask also in Filipino, just call the Pacific Asian Counseling Services: (562) 418-6161 or email: FilipinoCovid@pacsla.org